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United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has dedicated counterterrorism legislation. The maximum sentence is the death penalty. There is no carve-out in the definition of terrorism for the exercise of fundamental human rights. Indeed, the law has been critized for its impact on freedom of speech.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

Article 1 of the 2014 Law defines terrorist purpose as:

Inciting fear among a group of people, killing them, or causing them serious physical injury, or inflicting substantial damage to property or the environment, or disrupting security of the international community, or opposing the country, or influencing the public authorities of the country or another country or international organisation while discharging its duties, or receiving a privilege from the country or another country or an international organisation. 

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


The UAE is a State Party to all of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State Party


The UAE is also a State Party to the main regional treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1998 Arab Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism State Party
1999 OIC Convention on Combating International Terrorism State Party

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The 2014 law stipulates that committing a terror act that results in death is subject to the death penalty.

People convicted of undergoing military training with a terrorist organisation are liable to a life sentence or a prison term of at least ten years.Art. 25(2), 2014 Law on Combatting Terrorism.

The law has been criticized for its impact on freedom of speech.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi established the Higher Committee for Crises and Terrorist Acts Management (HCCTAM). HCCTAM leads the emirate's efforts to counter terrorism and is the owner of the Counter Terrorism Strategy.

The UAE police force and armed forces have dedicated counterterrorism expertise.


UAE 2014 Law on Combatting Terrorism (English translation)